7 Reasons to Visit Ontario’s Huron County
by Stephanie · Published · Updated
Imagine stretches of beach that will have you thinking you’re in the Caribbean. And charming small towns that are reminiscent of European villages, while others are purely Canadian. This is only a slice of what Ontario’s Huron County has to offer.
Set along the shores of Lake Huron you’ll find Ontario’s West Coast. Stretching from Grand Bend in the south to Amberley to the north is Huron County. Roughly a 3 hour drive from Toronto, Huron County makes for a perfect weekend getaway. But if you have a week’s vacation you’ll still be hard pressed to see it all. And if you need any more convincing, I’ve got 7 reasons why you should visit Ontario’s Huron County!
When to Visit Ontario’s Huron County
There really is no bad time to visit Ontario’s Huron County. But it depends on what you are after. If it’s beaches and sun you want then anytime from June to September is a great time to visit. June through August is also the busy season. But it also means more things are open, as in the off season some places have limited hours or are closed.
If you’re after a mix of all that Ontario’s West Coast has to offer then I highly recommend visiting in September. The kids have gone back to school, the temperatures are perfect, and the crowds are gone.
Reasons Why YOU Should Visit Ontario’s Huron County
Charming Small Towns
Anyone who has read this blog knows how much I LOVE Ontario’s charming small towns. And boy are there a lot. Ontario’s Huron County is full of them! Making it the number one reason to visit. Each of Huron County’s small towns and villages have something special to offer.
All of them are full of history, picturesque main streets, and charm. Like Goderich, toted as being one of the prettiest town in Canada. You’ll feel swept away to a European small town. And Bayfield will have you stepping back in time with its quaint and historic buildings.
But there are so many great small towns in Huron County you’ll fall in love with. Like Exeter, home to the white squirrel. Wingham, where Canadian author Alice Munro was born, is home to the Alice Munro Literary Garden. And Blyth, home to a theatre, a pig, and bursting with wonderful locals.
If you love views as much as I do then you’ll LOVE Ontario’s Huron County. Across the county you’ll find awesome views. Whether it’s looking down on a charming small town or across sweeping lush landscapes, there is a view to take your breath away.
Huron County Ontario has also been said to have some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world. With a massive stretch of coastline like this there are endless spots to curl up, wait, and witness a wonderful sunset.
Some of my favourite places to take in the views in Huron County are the following. In Grand Bend there’s an elevated lookout on the beach. From here you can see the incredible coastline of Lake Huron stretching out from north to south. In Bayfield, at Pioneer Park you’ll find stunning views of the lake and perfect sunsets. And out front of the Goderich lighthouse, up on the hill, there’s a bench to sit and soak in one of Huron County’s most epic views and sunsets in my opinion.
With 100 kilometres of pristine coastline Ontario’s West Coast is home to some of the cleanest waters in Canada. Tons of beaches, large and small, dot the coast. And many of Huron County’s beaches are Blue Flag certified. This certification means that the water is the highest quality, they’re accessible, and is also eco-friendly.
People have been flocking to Grand Bend’s main beach, Huron County’s most popular beach, for nearly 150 years. Even Detroit’s Ford Motor Company held their annual company picnic here in the 1910s. If you’re looking for the perfect little beach town then Grand Bend is it. You can go swimming, parasailing, boating, sailing, or just sit and soak in the sun. And when you need lunch or an ice cream just take a stroll down the main strip.
Another great stretch of beachfront can be found in Goderich. I was blown away by how white the sand was and how clear blue the water was. There’s also free parking along this stretch, as well as bathrooms, a play area, and shade.
If you’re a history buff then you’ll love Huron County. There is history around every turn and in every little town and village. In Bayfield you’ll wonder at the historic main street, each building has a story to tell. Like the Little Inn that has been catering to travellers since the 1800s.
Bayfield even has a Heritage Trail. This trail will take you around the village and by eight historical “storyboards” that will share each location’s significance, including old photos and paintings of the spot. It’s only 2 kilometres and is the perfect way to get to know this little gem.
Another great place to soak in Huron County’s history is in Goderich. Founded in 1827 by John Galt and William “Tiger” Dunlop of the Canada Company, Goderich has a wealth of historic sites. There’s the Huron Historic Gaol, an octagonal jail that was built between 1841 and 1911, and a National Historic Site. There’s a salt mine that is not only one of the oldest in Ontario but is also one of the largest underground salt mines in the world.
Huron County is home to four different theatres. There’s the Huron County Playhouse in Grand Bend. The Town Hall Heritage Theatre in Wingham. And the Livery Theatre in Goderich. But the big star is the Blyth Festival. Whether you’re already a theatre goer or looking for a great experience you simply must take in the theatre in Huron County.
There are playful and family-friendly plays. You can also find popular classics. But if you’re looking for original Canadiana stories, don’t worry you’ll find it here too! And one of the best parts of Huron County’s theatres are affordable – especially compared to other Ontario theatre companies.
Related Post: Why You Need to Attend the Stratford Festival
While Huron County is full of small towns it doesn’t have small town taste. Across the county, up and down the Bluewater Highway, you’ll find awesome restaurants, cafés, and bakeries. Most of which are locally owned and operated.
A couple of my favourite restaurants are the Part II Bistro in Blyth and the Beach Street Station in Goderich. If you’re heading to Blyth for dinner and a show then Part II Bistro will delight your taste buds with their menu of fresh and local food. Another fun one is The Growling Gator in Grand Bend with beachfront views.
Beach Street Station located on Goderich’s waterfront offers stunning views and fabulous food. Another reason why you’ll love Beach Street Station is it was originally built in 1907 as the CPR Train Station. It also has a 150 person patio that is perfect to take in the famous Huron County sunsets.
Related Post: Things to do in Brant County – from History to Hiking
As for cafés, my favourite is Cait’s Café in downtown Goderich. She serves up locally-roasted organic coffee, mouth-watering croissants, and an array of pastries, teas, and more. Food is sourced from local suppliers and farmers and everything is made from scratch!
Huron County is home to some of Ontario’s best bakeries! A few favourites include; Blyth’s Queens Bakery, the Pink Flamingo Bakery in Bayfield, and Culbert’s Bakery in Goderich. Culbert’s Bakery has been around for over 100 years. It’s a simple bakery but offers purely divine baked goods and all for rock bottom prices.
Huron County is home to over 30 hiking trails. YES! That’s true. So all you outdoor adventurists lace up your hikers and check out these trails. There are various walking trails in and around most of the small towns. And just outside there are a bunch of great parks and conservation areas like Wawanosh Valley Conservation Area, Hullett Provincial Wildlife Area, and Bannockburn Conservation Area.
There are two main trails that make their way through Huron County. The Maitland Trail has some pretty cool features, from rock formations to a Lime Kiln and more. Then there’s the G2G Rail Trail that stretches from Guelph to Goderich. This over 127 kilometre trail has some pretty incredible features in Huron County. The trail takes you by the historic Tiger Dunlop tomb and offers awesome views over the Menesetung Bridge and out to Lake Huron.
So, no matter your interests a visit to Ontario’s Huron County makes for a perfect getaway. While these are my top seven reasons to visit Huron County I’m sure you’ll find more!
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I'm a Canadian gal with a passion for wildlife, the great outdoors and travel and hope to inspire others to feel the same way! Travelling mostly solo I love to explore Ontario Gems in my own backyard as well as exotic cities around the world.